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The Impact of Migration Flows, Public Opinion and Party Strategies on the Representation of Immigrant Origin Minorities in Countries of Recent Immigration. A Comparison of Italy and Spain

Elections
Representation
Immigration
Daniela Vintila
Université de Liège
Simona Guerra
University of Surrey
Laura Morales
Sciences Po Paris
Luis Ramiro
University of Leicester
Daniela Vintila
Université de Liège
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Abstract

During the 1990s and the 2000s Italy and Spain experienced a considerable growth of immigration. In just two decades, the immigrant population has multiplied more than fivefold in both countries and represented 7 and 14 per cent of the total population, respectively, by the end of the 2000s. This demographic change has put pressure on the democratic representative system of both countries, with large numbers of new residents and new citizens wishing to have a voice in the direction of collective affairs. Yet, at the same, public opinion has become increasingly concerned about immigration and immigrants’ integration in both countries, with attitudes towards immigrants becoming increasingly negative in both. This paper examines how these competing pressures have affected party strategies in relation to the incorporation of citizens of immigrant origin into elected office in the national parliaments of both countries.